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ALBA: Something Different
By Nestor Núñez

It was common to think of the European Union when talking about integration mechanism. And even in recent years it was acceptable to come to that conclusion.

The Europeans, especially before the inclusion of the former eastern socialist nations, discussed common tariffs, free transit of its citizens, common currency and a unified bank.

They showed steps of advance not seen in any other part of the world until then, although always within the capitalist framework.

In our Latin American region it was not strange to see the same, but incomplete and one sided.  The Central American Common Market, the Community of Eastern Caribbean States (CARICOM), the Andean Pact, and essentially the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) just to mention some important groups, but fragmented and tied to discussions on commercial problems and customs as cardinal elements.

In addition, such plans were also set within the perspective of the market economy.

It is not until 2004, that the leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Havana created the Bolivarian Alliance for the People´s of Our America (ALBA) that regional integration showed a different face and above all, it was established on the basis of justice and prioritize humanity as its main action and development.

ALBA is, although there has been many attempts to silence the existence of the group, a model that truly responds to national and regional interests and surpasses the commercial framework to exercise all the key areas: economic, political and social.

Thanks to ALBA a number of regional nations enjoy energy security and work towards the production of food and in commercial ties the complementary principles and the recognition of the asymmetry are elements that secure true equality in the transactions.

The Bank of the South has been created, promoted as a financial center far from the large imperialist monetary monopolies and the Sucre has been established as the future common currency of the member nations.

What stands out in the social sphere, among others is the Milagro and Yo Si Puedo or Yes I Can Missions, destined at returning eyesight to millions of the people in the region, and secondly; to fight illiteracy and strengthen education.

While in the political context, ALBA has strongly opposed the fascist coup in Honduras and its firm common position in achieving a regional entity for consultation and against Washington´s presence in the region, and fighting against the media campaign through Tele Sur and other alternative media outlets in the region.

In a few words, ALBA is creation, initiative, justice, development, decency and brotherhood.  It is the unity our independence leaders dreamt of for the region. (Cubaminrex- ACN)

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